Kenya’s Moses Mosop will lead a quality field at the Guangzhou Marathon this weekend

Five sub-2:10 runners will toe the line in the men’s race targeting the course record of 2:10:01 set by Morocco’s Abdellah Tagharrafet in 2015. 33-year-old Mosop owns the fastest PB of this year’s entrants with his 2:05:03 clocking from the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon. He also holds the Chinese all-comers’ record of 2:06:19, set at the 2015 Xiamen Marathon. The Kenyan, however, hasn’t raced since placing third at the 2016 Dongying Marathon in 2:09:33 so there is a question mark over his form ahead of this weekend. Compatriot David Kemboi Kiyeng, 35, is perhaps the most experienced marathon runner in the field, having won in Reims, Seoul, Chuncheon Sao Paulo, Daegu and Kosice over the past 12 years. But the 35-year-old’s best recent performance was a 2:17:59 clocking in Taiyuan three months ago, more than 11 minutes shy of his PB. Fellow Kenyan Cosmas Jairus Birech – not to be confused with the steeplechaser with the similar name – is arguably the most in-form runner in the field. The 32-year-old improved his PB to 2:08:03 to take his first title over the classic distance in Rome eight months ago. The field also includes Birhanu Teshome of Ethiopia, who has a PB of 2:09:03, and Kenya’s Mathew Kipsaat, whose lifetime best of 2:09:19 was achieved in Rome last year. Despite the absence of defending champion and course record-holder Rahma Tusa, Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech could challenge the course record of 2:25:12 in the women’s race. Cheyech, the fourth-place finisher at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, set a PB of 2:21:22 in Paris last year. Her season’s best is 2:33:01, set at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in March. Ethiopia’s Zinash Debebe is another title contender. The 22-year-old cut nearly three minutes off her PB to finish fourth in Seville in 2:27:47. It will be Debebe’s third marathon of the year and she is still chasing her first career victory over the distance.

posted Friday December 7th